With the first race of the American Power Boat Association Offshore Championship Series just two months away as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to escalate in the United States, the organizers behind the May 14-17 Cocoa Beach, Fla., season-opener issued a press release this afternoon. While the race remains on the six-contest schedule, they are paying close attention to the ongoing health national health crisis.
If current plans hold, Cocoa Beach, Fla., will host the 2020 APBA Offshore Championship Series season-opener. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
“As of today, we are closely monitoring the situation from our side and remain optimistic that our race will continue as scheduled,” said Kerry Bartlett, a Cocoa Beach resident who chairs the race committee, in the release.
More than 60 teams are expected to compete in the 11th annual event, which last year drew a record-setting fleet and reportedly created a local economic impact of $17.8 million. As it did in 2019, the 2020 event wlll support the locally based, anti-human-trafficking “I Am A Freedom Fighter” group as its primary charity. Also as they did last year, the Offshore Powerboat Association and Powerboat P1 organization are producing the series under the APBA-sanctioning umbrella.
Leaders of both organizations are “closely monitoring the Center for Disease Control guidelines surrounding the recent coronavirus outbreak as they pertain to large gatherings and outdoor events,” the press release stated.
“Our number one concern is the safety of not only our racers but also our race fans,” said Powerboat P1 chief executive officer Azam Rangoonwala and OPA president Ed Smith in a joint statement in the release. “We take that into serious consideration as we plan for each race site throughout the entire season.”